Updated March 26 at 12:25pm

Report: R.I. bioscience sector shows job growth since 2001


BOSTON – According to the Battelle/Bio State Bioscience Industry Development Report, Rhode Island’s bioscience sector grew 44.3 percent from 2001 to 2010.

Comparatively, from 2001 to 2010, the national employment rate in the bioscience industry grew 6.4 percent.

In 2010, the latest data available, slightly more than 4,600 of Rhode Island’s jobs were in the bioscience sector. According to the report, those jobs span 277 business establishments.

The report analyzed the bioscience industry’s impact on the U.S. economy as well as providing state metrics. Nationwide, “the U.S. bioscience industry added jobs, despite losses in both the overall U.S. total private sector industry employment and other leading knowledge-based industries,” said the report.

“Given the continuing concerns about job creation in the U.S., we are pleased to report an increase of more than 96,000 jobs in the bioscience sector since 2001, even after accounting for the impacts of the recent severe recession,” Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization said in prepared remarks.

“The Battelle/BIO report highlights the long term expansion of our industry and the high-paying salaries of our researchers and scientists that are developing innovations and life-saving medicines,” added Greenwood.

Across the United States, the majority of jobs added were in research, testing and laboratories. Those fields added 23.8 percent to the workforce between 2001 and 2010.

According to the report, the bioscience industry weathered the recession better than the overall economy as well as other knowledge-based industries.

“While national private-sector employment fell by 6.9 percent from the outset of the recession in 2007 through the first year of the recovery in 2010, bioscience industry employment fell a mere 1.4 percent,” said the report.

Rhode Island’s bioscience industry didn’t fare as well as the national industry during the recession, losing 13.4 percent of jobs compared with the 1.4 percent across the U.S.

Across the country, 34 states, including Rhode Island, have an employment specialization in at least one of the five bioscience subsectors - drugs and pharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment, research, testing and medical laboratories, agricultural feedstock and chemicals, and bioscience-related distribution.

The report defined an “employment specialization” as 20 percent or more concentrated than the nation. Rhode Island has an employment specialization in the drugs and pharmaceuticals subsector.

“The bioscience industry is still resilient, even through these difficult economic times,” said Mitch Horowitz, vice president and managing director of Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice. “Looking to the future, the bioscience industry stands out amongst other markets and serves human health, agriculture, biofuels and other industrial applications.”

For the full report, visit www.bio.org.


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